Justice for Cornelius
On May 1, 16-year-old Cornelius Frederick died after being restrained for throwing a sandwich at Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo, MI, which is run by a national for-profit company Sequel Youth and Family Services. Such egregious use of force and tragic loss of life is appalling. Cornelius’s life mattered.
Cornelius's death at a Sequel facility highlights the harms faced by youth at for-profit facilities. Years of experience with for-profit juvenile and adult facilities shows privatization often leads to a variety of harmful outcomes, such as dangerous conditions, incentives to incarcerate kids longer, and prioritizing profits over public safety.
We have demanded:
Sequel must leave Michigan, and no for-profit facilities should be allowed to own or manage facilities for youth;
The community should lead decision-making about whether to close and/or re-purpose Lakeside;
Youth who ran away from the facility in the aftermath should not be punished;
All investigations into the incident should be public record; and,
A state-level position, such as juvenile justice ombudsman, should be created to provide greater oversight of private facilities and ensure accountability.
- On June 18th, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services began the process of removing Lakeside's license.
- On June 20th, Governor Whitmer released a statement condemning the acts of those involved with Cornelius's death, and demanding Sequel be removed from Lakeside.
We are thankful for this progress and continue to work on removing Sequel from Michigan's child-caring facilities.
Op-Ed by Hazelette Crosby-Robinson, MCYJ's Board President
Detroit Free Press - 6/25/20
NBC News- 7/23/20
Detroit Free Press- 7/9/20
Wood TV- 7/8/20
NYTimes - 6/22/20
WWMT - 6/20/20
KSTP - 6/19/20
AP News - 6/19/20
WWMT - 5/14/20
Justice group calls for closure of Kalamazoo facility where teenager died
WWMT - 5/08/20
MLive - 5/07/20
Fox-17 - 5/07/20
CW7 - 5/07/20
More than 30 students at Lakeside Academy test positive for COVID-19
WKZO - 5/05/20
Fox-17 - 5/05/20
WWMT - 5/02/20
WOOD TV-8 - 5/01/20
Records: Program where teen died has a history of violations